Thursday, January 2, 2014

What makes a good anchorage

(ed note: these are my opinions - Tim will have to list his own.)
One thing that we have been learning a lot about on this trip down the ICW is anchorages. There are many of them for smaller, shallower draft boats, but few and far between for boats of our size and draft. Considering the average water depth, wind and current that we've anchored in, we need anywhere from a 150-250' swing circle, and there just aren't that many around.We have had a few really amazing anchorages, and we have had a few that I literally couldn't wait to get out of. So this got me to thinking about what makes a good anchorage.

Like everything else on a boat, anchorages involve compromise. An anchorage is good either because it's beautiful, or because it's protected from the wind and/or current, or because it's deep enough, because it's  interesting (historical site, museum, etc), or because the services (stores, trash, laundry, etc) are easily accessible and affordable. Every anchorage we've been in has had some factor of at least one of these, and the few really great ones had all of them.

Anchorage number one in my mind is Wrightsville Beach. It's absolutely gorgeous, and while the protection from wind and current isn't great, the water is deep and the holding is excellent so it's not a factor. There is a free dinghy dock, a very reasonably priced grocery store, ice cream stores, and the beach is one block from the dinghy dock. One of my most loved features? You can hear the surf from the anchorage through the open V-berth hatch at night.

Runners  up:

Magothy River - this was our first anchorage so that weights it. It was private, completely protected from wind in any direction, good depth, and stunningly beautiful. No services.

Styron Creek was the most picturesque of all of them. Holding, protection, depth, were all good. Services were non-existent but you don't go to that type of anchorage for services.

The absolutely worst, can't wait to get out of there, didn't sleep all night anchorage was the oxbow near Enterprise Landing. It was creepy, desolate swampland and I kept waiting for the Deliverance music to start.

Runner up was Taylor Creek in Beaufort. We found it to be cluttered with abandoned boats, private mooring balls, and daymarks that made it nearly impossible to find a spot.

The Charleston anchorage wasn't much better. Completely exposed and they charge you a ridiculous amount of money to land the dink and make you walk a mile to get the sticker and then walk back to put in on the dink before you walk to town.

The gems you look for are anchorages that have free dinghy docks, ice cream and laundry close by (get ice cream while waiting for laundry), free or reduced fee buses, or historical sites.

So do you have any favorites?


S/V Veranda said...

You know I have favorites but I can completely concur with your assessment of Taylor creek. I hated that place. Stopped there once, now we know better, never again. Vero Beach will make it all seem so long ago....

Behan said...

I love what makes this one a winner: you have me somewhere between the ice cream store, and the sound of surf from a placid anchorage.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Hi Deb - great post and tips for when we make it down the ICW! Would you be willing to share this one on The Monkey's Fist as part of the topic in development on anchorages? You can check it out
Cheers - Ellen